We taste-tested hot dogs from all of the major fast-food burger joints, and the winner was surprising

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

The fast-food hot-dog wars are on.

On February 23, Burger King added grilled hot dogs to the menu. Checkers & Rally’s responded the next day by selling its dogs for $0.79.

“It’s a war we plan to win!” the company said in a news release.

But who serves the best wiener?

I taste-tested hot dogs from Five Guys, Burger King, Shake Shack, and Checkers. The winner surprised me.


First up, Checkers. As I waited in line, I scoured the menu for a hot dog, but all I saw was a chili dog. When I asked the employee for one regular hot dog, she looked at me as if I had four heads. Guess that’s not a typical order …

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

“OK, that will be $0.86,” the worker said. Then I looked at her as if she had four heads.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

But I can see why it’s so cheap. It’s small, messy, and depressing. The bag’s face mirrored my own.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

Checkers’ hot dog is definitely worth $0.86. The “100% beef” menu item doesn’t taste grilled — more like it was quickly heated up. I got what I paid for.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

The new grilled hot dogs at Burger King became available at all locations on February 23.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

Burger King’s system for to-go hot dogs isn’t ideal. The classic dog comes with everything on it — and then it’s just stuffed into a paper bag.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

A little messy, but for $2.71, Burger King’s classic dog comes with mustard, ketchup, relish, and onions.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

It’s not soggy — despite everything on it — and after the first bite I can definitely taste that it’s grilled. It has a smoky flavor and is surprisingly tasty.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

Shake Shack’s menu offers more than people realize. With three different types of hot dogs, I went with just the classic.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

At $3.59, Shake Shack’s hot dog is as plain and simple as it can get. If I were comparing this to the restaurant’s burgers, the hot dog’s presentation isn’t exactly mouth-watering.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

But it has the best to-go packaging of all the places I tried.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

Adding the ketchup and mustard myself was a little awkward. Shake Shack’s hot dog looks as it tastes: plain and boring. The buttery bun is probably the best part.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

Last stop, Five Guys. I stepped up to the register and ordered one kosher hot dog. “One dog!” the employee immediately yelled to the kitchen. Out of all the restaurants I tried, she was the most unfazed by my order. I also appreciate that I can watch the employees prepare my food.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

But at $5.11, Five Guys is outrageously expensive for just one hot dog. The toppings weren’t extra, either.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

It’s heftier than the other options, although I pretty much got the same toppings: ketchup, mustard, and relish.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

The dog comes sideways in the bun, which is different. It has a smokey and savory flavor, but the bun is pretty soggy.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider

After ordering all these hot dogs at typical burger joints, Burger King offers the best dog. Its smokey and rich flavor puts it above the competition.

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Marina Nazario/Business Insider